The day this article was written, the ADA requested that all dental practices in the US postpone elective procedures for three weeks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s only been about a week since that announcement and, now, dental practices are starting to implement temporary closures and slash hours in an effort to keep their teams and their communities safe.
There will naturally be a lull in the amount of work you have to do during this period of social distancing but, as an office manager, you don’t have to be physically in the office to get some serious work done for your practice. Though there may be some housekeeping associated with setting up a remote work policy for your practice. There’s plenty you can get done from your home office to help propel your practice forward once it’s back at full capacity.
Here are 15 management tasks you can complete from home (maybe even more efficiently without the standard distractions of your office) should you find yourself working remote:
1. Develop Your Company Culture
Even if you haven’t taken the time to define it, your practice has a company culture. The difference between a culture that came to exist as a result of your business’ day-to-day operations and one that you defined on purpose, however, is that a defined company culture can help you manage. Leaning on your Mission, Purpose, and Core Values can help align employees to common goals and can also make tough employee conversations significantly easier.
Use the exercises inside CEDR’s free Manager’s Playbook to define a culture that works for you and your practice.
2. Catch Up on Research/FAADOM CE
Have you been waiting for the right time to explore the benefits of a new piece of equipment for your office, study popular management strategies, or catch up on CE for your FAADOM Designation? Well, now’s that time!
3. Test Drive New Software
It can be hard to implement a new piece of software for your team when things at the office are in full swing. Try out new systems that can improve your practice’s overall performance while you’ve got some down time (Feel free to start with CEDR’s HR Vault + customizable timekeeping and On-demand HIPAA Training).
4. Work on a Patient Acquisition Plan
Spend some time thinking about your new patient referral programs and incentives. That way you’ll have something exciting to offer your patients once everyone’s back in the office full-time.
5. Phone Support
Catch up with your vendors, reps, and patients by phone. It’s an intimate touch that can help keep you top-of-mind when things settle down. Take your relationship building efforts a step further by having some of those conversations over video calls.
6. Perform a Wage and Hour Audit
You’ve been way too busy to get to some of the basic administrative stuff for a long time. But, now that things are moving more slowly, you can ensure that your practice is protected from potential employment lawsuits or DOL audits by taking a closer look at your books. Use CEDR’s free online Guide to Employee Classification and Wage Compliance to make sure you’ve got the basics covered.
7. Review Your Employee Handbook
Few managers realize the power that their employee handbook can hold for them. Good handbooks make expectations clear for employees. They can also be extremely helpful when addressing an employee’s subpar performance and can even provide valuable legal protection to your practice. But those benefits only apply if your handbook is up-to-date and doesn’t contain any illegal policies. Use our free online Guide to Employee Handbooks to see if your handbook is doing its job, or let one of CEDR’s employment law experts review yours for free.
8. Update Your Office’s SOPs
One of the few benefits of a crisis is that it can help reveal weaknesses in your current processes pretty quickly. Maybe you’ve noticed some gaps in your Standard Operating Procedures over the last few weeks. Or perhaps there’s an inefficiency in place that’s been bugging you for a long time. Remote work can provide a good opportunity to think critically about what is and isn’t working for your practice, and can allow you time to come up with a plan to test out once everyone’s back at work.
9. Work on Marketing
Marketing is often relegated to the lowest priority when business is strong. And not all businesses are thinking about how to regain traction in the market after a crisis blows over when in the throes of that crisis. You can use this opportunity to gain an edge over your competitors later by focusing on improving your marketing strategies now. If you haven’t done so before, now might be a good time to establish your company’s social media presence, improve your website, start a company blog, or begin a foray into any other novel form of marketing that previously piqued your interest.
10. Get Some Testimonials
Studies show that roughly three-quarters of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Today, online reviews are an important part of any small business’ marketing strategy. Look into ways to increase the number of reviews you’re getting on Google and Facebook while you’ve got the time to focus on it.
11. Update Office Forms
Are there patient intake or other forms at your practice that haven’t been updated in a while? Now could be a good time to fix that.
12. Build Your Budget
No doubt the unexpected shift in your work schedule correlates with unexpected shifts in your practice’s overall revenue and expenses. Now’s a good time to take a close look at your budget and see what, if any, changes you should make in that regard.
13. Team Management Planning
58 percent of managers say that they have never had any formal management training. That said, you can catapult yourself above the fold by diving into some good ol’ fashioned online education and/or management books while you’ve got the time to do so. Then use your new-found knowledge to sharpen your skills and improve your processes.
14. Clean Up Your CRM
Get rid of those contacts that have moved away and/or stopped responding to your emails years ago. You may also want to look into implementing new methods of communication, such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, or adding a chat bot on your website.
15. HIPAA Training
Who has time to stay current on HIPAA Training these days? Get your entire team up-to-date on HIPAA compliance while things are quiet at the office. You can even use CEDR’s on-demand HIPAA training program free for a year!